Critics’ Picks

Rubens Gerchman, Sky Eye Yellow Line NY, 1969,painted wood, dimensions variable.

Rubens Gerchman, Sky Eye Yellow Line NY, 1969,
painted wood, dimensions variable.

São Paulo

“SOL”

Marli Matsumoto Arte Contemporânea
R. João Alberto Moreira, 128 - Sumarezinho
April 2–June 11, 2022

Spilling down the wall and onto the floor near the entrance to the gallery, the wooden letterforms of Rubens Gerchman’s Sky Eye Yellow Line NY, 1969, at once announce the conceptual thread of “SOL,” a group exhibition curated by artist Alexandre da Cunha. Painted in a harsh yellow, Gerchman’s sculpture describes daylight without directly naming its source. Both the errant phrase and a rare short film of Gerchman’s—Triunfo Hermético, shot on 16 mm in Rio de Janeiro in 1972—mark the gallery (and the landscape) as a place where language can become a physical material prone to weathering and decay. When the word “sol” finally appears in Triunfo Hermético, it slips between “sal” and “sul” in successive frames, a consonance also sustained by steady surf and the sun dazzling overhead, its reflection glancing through the O.

Elsewhere, da Cunha traces fleeting rays with a 1986 sketch by Martin Kippenberger (a blank form issued by the Brazilian Ministry of Finance, smudged yellow and orange); the concentration of clustered dots in Julio Le Parc’s Alchimie 371, 2017; the warm, semitransparent layers of voile in Leda Catunda’s Sol, 2022; and a gold-haloed cock delicately rendered by Francisco da Silva (Untitled, 1975). Allover finger smears of cadmium yellow in Patricia Leite’s Flores, 1992, are later rounded off and resolved against more pronounced chartreuse geometries in her Paisagem, 2001. An orb in a small work on paper by Mira Schendel (Untitled, 1975) glows buttery beneath silver metallic spray. Vertical bands of pale pastel in two paintings by Sérgio Sister (Untitled and Listas, both 1996) suggest ultraviolet fading.

On the back terrace, Ana Mazzei’s slowly orbiting sculpture Fauno, o entardecer, 2018/2022, is a disco-ready Oberon. Periodically, a light breeze filters through the open window, teasing the edges of four reclaimed brewery parasols stitched together by Zé Tepedino (Avesso III, 2021) and setting them adrift alongside the windswept grasses and loose rhythms of Gerchman’s nearby film, scored by Stanley Clark, Airto Moreira, and Flora Purim. Cultivating a partly cloudy atmosphere at odds with equatorial preconceptions, Da Cunha deploys his organizing principle here with nuance—not everything under the sun warms equally.